Each summer there are inevitably a handful of undrafted free agents who find a spot on the 53-man roster. Most famously for the Jets, that was WR Wayne Chrebet in 1995, who climbed from the 11th and final spot on the training camp depth chart up to Ring of Honor member.
Last year for the Green & White, DL Bryce Huff made the 53-man roster after he went undrafted while CB Javelin Guidry, CB Lamar Jackson and WR Lawrence Cager all earned practice squad spots and were eventually signed to the active roster.
Of this year's 12 undrafted-free-agent pool, Dane Brugler of The Athletic, believes Ole Miss TE Kenny Yeboah, Oregon State DL Hamilcar Rashed Jr. and BYU OL Tristen Hoge have the best chances to make the opening-day roster.
Kenny Yeboah (6-3, 250), Mississippi
Yeboah's strength is his athleticism and receiving prowess. He spent 2016-19 at Temple before transferring to Ole Miss where he had career highs in receptions (27), yards (524) and touchdowns (6). He ranked fourth in the nation among tight ends with 65.5 receiving yards per game and 19.41 yards per receptions.
"He can be a guy who's going to attack the seam, he's going to be able to beat linebackers, get over the top of defenders," Brugler said. "He's a specific type of tight end. You're going to use him as a fullback, as a wingback. Those pass-catching traits gets you excited. As a blocker, he's limited. You just have to be OK with that and try to get him better in that area so he's at least functional when he's on the field, but I think that the lack of blocking is the main reason he ended up going undrafted and why it might be hard for him to get on the field. When you're able to find a right role for him where you're asking him to be a pass catcher then me might be able to find a fit."
Hamilcar Rashed Jr. (6-2, 251), Oregon State
Rashed Jr. was one of the most productive players in college football in 2019, leading the nation with 22.5 tackles for loss to go with 14 sacks. After a first-team All-American season, he only had 2 tackles for loss and 0 sacks in seven games in 2020.
"That's a huge variance in production for him," Brugler said. "I don't know that they let him pin his ears back and go as much as they did as a senior compared to the 2019 stuff. He's got length, he's got straight-line speed. It'll be interesting to see how they use him. I thought he would be best in a 3-4 scheme, but nonetheless, he's got some pass-rush juice. It'll be interesting to see how they deploy him in this scheme.
"I think he's always kind of limited because he's not a great change-of-direction guy. He's a little stiff through his hips. He's more of that face up, pin his ears back and straight-line type of rusher. That was always going to limit him, but he's tough minded in the run game, he's long and he plays with attitude."
Tristen Hoge (6-4, 306), BYU
Hoge was the Cougars' RG from 2018-20, protecting now Jets QB Zach Wilson, who was selected No. 2 overall. Hoge began his college career at Notre Dame (2015-16), sat out in 2017 and then started 25 games after he transferred to BYU. He missed eight games in '19 with a leg injury and then another four in '20 due to COVID-19 and pneumonia. He won the Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year as both a junior and senior in high school (Highland HS).
"A guy who has a lot of things you desire in terms of power, in terms of the way he's able to manhandle defenders," Brugler said. "He has core strength, he can forklift at the point of attack. Not the best athlete. He needs to stay in his phonebooth, in his confined area and just play under control. If he can do that, there's a path where he can make this team and add that interior line depth."